The buck must stop with Nicola Sturgeon when it comes to the failings of the SNP Government over the handling of harassment complaints against her predecessor Alex Salmond, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
Reports have indicated that Scottish Government Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans is being lined up to be sacked following the inquiry into the former First Minister.
SNP Chief Executive Peter Murrell, who has been accused of lying under oath, and Nicola Sturgeon’s Chief Of Staff Liz Lloyd are also suggested to be moved on when the inquiry concludes.
Further reports have also raised fresh doubt over what Nicola Sturgeon knew when about the allegations against her predecessor. A ‘secret’ meeting appears to have taken place in November 2017 between the First Minister and Leslie Evans to alter guidelines and only inform her after any investigations against former Ministers had concluded.
The meeting is said to have occurred only weeks after allegations against Mr Salmond were first made.
Scottish Conservative spokesman on the Salmond Inquiry Murdo Fraser says that Nicola Sturgeon cannot hide behind her husband and other senior officials for her continued failure to be transparent in relation to the inquiry.
Commenting, Scottish Conservative Spokesman on the Salmond Inquiry Murdo Fraser said: “The buck must stop with Nicola Sturgeon. It was her Government who botched the investigation and cost the public purse at least £500,000 in pursuing a lost cause. And it was her Government who so badly let down the women involved in this case.
“The First Minister’s inner circle including her husband and senior officials have serious questions hanging over them in relation to their own conduct. However, Nicola Sturgeon cannot use them to hide behind.
“She must stand up and take responsibility for the SNP Government’s failings as they investigated her predecessor. She promised to be fully co-operative with this inquiry but has been obstructive at every turn.
“We see yet more questions over what she knew and when about the allegations against her friend and political mentor of over 30 years. She seems determined to fool everyone by failing to be transparent.
“This whole affair stinks to high heaven and the truth must be heard. Whatever is concluded from this inquiry, it is imperative that is Nicola Sturgeon who carries the can for the shambolic failings of her Government.
“If she’s found to have broken the Ministerial Code, then she must resign.”
Notes: The Sunday Times reported on Leslie Evans facing being sacked: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mandarin-leslie-evans-faces-sack-over-salmond-debacle-q3vl2pdh0
The Sun reported on the fresh question over Nicola Sturgeon’s timeline about what she knew and when: https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/scottish-news/6714097/nicola-sturgeon-alex-salmond-questioned-harassment-allegations-knowledge/